Humminbird Fish Finders

UPDATED Jul. 2020
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 Humminbird Brand

Humminbird is a renowned company owned and operated by Johnson Outdoors, which also owns brands like Minn Kota, Cannon, Eureka!, Jetboil, and many others. Johnson Outdoors has been on the market for almost 50 years now and is very proud of the fact that all of its designing, engineering, manufacturing, and technical support is based in its home base in Eufaula, AL.  

New Humminbird fish finders come equipped with numerous modern and revolutionary technologies, including Mega Imaging and Mega Imaging+ (Mega Down Imaging is now built into Minn Kota trolling motors), 360 Imaging, and Dual Spectrum CHIRP (with wide and narrow mods for max coverage and detail, respectively). Humminbird units are known for their strong returns and clear readings without any noise, superior target separation, and clearly defined fish arches.  

All GPS-equipped Solix and most Helix models now come with Humminbird Basemaps that cover more than 10,000 lakes in the US as well as the entire US coast. The AutoChart Live feature allows you to create your own maps with depth controls, an extended reach for determining the bottom hardness, and an unparalleled ability to chart underwater vegetation. The optional i-Pilot link paired with a compatible Minn Kota trolling motor can also follow your maps and do the navigating for you. Finally, you can upload your maps to your personal AutoChart LiveShare account or download charts created by other users. 

Some other impressive features built into Humminbird fish finders include LakeMasterSmartStrike, and the FishSmart Android and iOS app.    

Humminbird Fish Finder Series

PiranhaMAX Series The most popular series in this line are definitely PiranhaMAX 4 and PiranhaMAX 197 Series. PiranhaMAX was envisioned as a budget-friendly alternative to top-tier professional units, coming with a lower price tag but still providing users with high-quality performance. The units feature smaller displays, which makes them ideal for kayaks and other smaller vessels, but they also come with DualBeam sonars and even Down Imaging (PiranhaMAX 4 Di). The reach of the units is not overly impressive, capping at around 600ft for DualBeam, meaning they are just right for inland and coastal fishing but not for off-shore expeditions. 

Helix Series The Helix Series is much larger than PiranhaMAX and the units come with more features and capabilities. Accordingly, the models are a bit pricier, but they are still budget-friendly compared to some other manufacturers. The main advantages of these models include Down/Side Imaging CHIRP, numerous networking options, GPS with charts and navigation, and others. The main features include AutoChartLive, 360 Imaging, DualBeam PLUS, Fish ID+, Humminbird BasemapsFishSmart, Mega Down Imaging, LakeMaster compatibility, RTS (Window), Structure ID, SwitchFire, WhiteLine, UniMap, X-Press, and much more.

Humminbird Fish Finders Buyer’s Guide

In order to identify the optimal Humminbird fish finder for you, we will now go over some of the crucial factors you should keep in mind when purchasing a fish finder, including your personal fishing style, vessel access, depth of your favorite fishing spot, and more. 

Fishing Type

Our recommendations based on your fishing style go as follows: 

Angling with a rod Contrary to popular belief, the fact that you are fishing with an angle does not provide us with enough information to determine the best Humminbird fish finder for you. In order to do that, we need to gather some additional information like whether you fish in fresh or saltwater, whether you have a vessel or rent one, whether you fish inland or off-shore, and more. However, if we are using the broadest criteria imaginable, we would recommend Piranha models for beginners and Helix 7 CHIRP Si GPS G2 or Helix 9 Si GPS for more advanced users.  

Line fishing (droplining, jigging, handlining, slabbing, longlining, trotlining) Line fishing is essentially angling without the angle, so all of our recommendations from the previous category apply here as well.

Trolling We recommend going with PiranhaMAX 4 Di if you are looking for a budget option and Helix 12 if you are willing to make a larger investment. The first device can provide you with readable results at about 30 MPH and the second at around 35 MPH.  

Ice fishing In this category, we definitely recommend ICE-55 as long as you do not intend to go past 200ft.  

Casual/professional fishing As we already mentioned, units from the PiranhaMAX Series should provide more than enough utility for casual fishers and their price tags are also adjusted appropriately. On the other hand, if you are looking for something more serious, you can go with Helix 9 Si GPS or Helix 12. 

The Size Of Your Vessel

If you are a boat owner, you have the luxury of picking what you like as long as it works with your vessel. On the other hand, if you rent, you should opt for a mobile unit that can be installed and taken out in minutes. With that in mind, here are our recommendations: 

Kayaks, canoes, small boats For smaller vessels, you should look for models with smaller displays and main housings, which translates to PiranhaMAX 197c (3.5”), PiranhaMAX 4 Di (4.3”), and Helix 5 CHIRP GPA G2 (5”).  

Medium-to-large boats – More space means more options so we suggest larger premium models like Helix 7 CHIRP Si GPS G2, Helix 9 Si GPS, and Helix 12.  

Overall Depth

The depth of your favorite fishing spot will also limit your choice of new Humminbird fish finders. Having said that, here are some of the top models for different categories: 

Inland fishing If you are a casual inland fisher, models like PiranhaMAX 197c (600ft) and PiranhaMAX 4 Di (600ft for 2D and 320ft for Di) are your best bet.  

Off-shore fishing If you want to go deeper at a reasonable price, we recommend going with Helix 5 CHIRP GPA G2 (1,500ft/up to 2,500ft if you upgrade it with a deep-water transducer). Top-tier options include Helix 12 with an overall reach of 3,500ft (with a low CHIRP transducer upgrade) and 150ft and 240ft for Di and Si, respectively. 

Bottom Line

Humminbird units are known for their excellent displays (even the smaller models) that allow you to observe readings even in direct sunlight or at night thanks to high-quality backlighting.

Like with any other manufacturer, the default transducers usually cannot keep up with the capabilities of the main unit, so they need an upgrade if you intend to use them professionally or just need more depth.

The units are IP-X7 waterproof, which means they can withstand splashes and heavy rain without any problems and they can even be immersed in 3.3ft of water for up to 30 minutes.  

Bottom line, Humminbird is a well-known name with many satisfied customers and you will definitely find a device that fits your fishing style and preferences if you opt to go with this brand.